I know a mom whose child can have strong emotional melt-downs – angry, yelling, crying, hitting. But instead of dragging this tornado of 4-year-old emotional dis-regulation to time-out and holding the closed bedroom door shut against his struggle, she stays with him, tells him she will stay near him and keep him safe. The outburst doesn’t stop immediately but when it does, mom is there and her son settles, snuggles into her and says “I love you Mommy”.
This wasn’t always the way for this little guy and his mom. Time outs were the rule, taking away toys and TV time, in addition to angry shouting exchanges. Mom took her child’s behavior personally – believed he did things on purpose. But when she realized that he really didn’t know how to handle the big scary feelings he had built up inside him, and that he needed her to be there for him when he felt that way, the frequency of these melt-downs began to diminish.
Emotional connection – so powerful – and as necessary to our relationships with our children when they are struggling with strong negative feelings as when they are delighting us with their affection and positive behavior.
For we are their secure base in sunny times and stormy times.
And when we have been their secure base, even during the negative times, our connection will be strong.
Strong enough for what needs to be done, explained, sorted out, accomplished – with trust and with love.
If your child is experiencing melt-downs or you are just feeling at odds with each other, give me a call at The Parenting Place, 784-8125 and we can find that connection together.